Senior Living: To meat or not to meat?

That is the question our columnist has for vegans: What do they really want?

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I get it, the whole not wanting to eat anything-with-a-face movement. Cows are cute. So are lambs. And piglets. And rabbits. And, sometimes, even chickens.

But — and Lord, here comes the lightning bolt — they also taste good.

I eat meat. Almost every day. I fry it, roast it, Panko-coat it, broil it and barbecue it. Beef, pork, chicken and lamb. And seafood. Oh, seafood.

Before you blow up my inbox with outrage and vitriol, yes, I am aware there can be mistreatment in the animal husbandry industry and, yes, I know that meat is murder and Earth’s good nature is often jeopardized in our quest to set the table.

So, spare me the lectures. And don’t bother sending me photos of butchered calves or cooped-up chickens. I get it. I am not a monster. I, too, support the humane treatment of animals that are farmed for our dinner plates.

And I respect anyone who has courage of conviction — whatever that may look like — about the food they put in their bodies, and wouldn’t dream of imposing my views on their choices.


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Sometimes I wish I didn’t eat meat, that I didn’t have a lifelong gastronomic devotion to animal flesh, a culinary history that charts nearly seven decades of meat consumption and is clearly the legacy of choice and of having been raised in the mid-20th century when Sunday roast dinners were standard, and delicious, fare.

Sometimes, I even question how I can so cavalierly tempt coronary fate, for this is something often pondered by those of us in our late 60s, where one’s health and acute sense of mortality are increasingly top of mind.

But, still, I eat meat.

Veganism isn’t a new thing, of course. While the word itself is only about as old as the average baby boomer, vegetarianism (its less-restrictive cousin) can be traced to ancient cultures.

And right here in Canada, two decades ago, chef Yves Potvin created Yves Veggie Cuisine, a faux meat product offered up in burger, hotdog, deli and sausage form.

What is new, though, is the self-righteous army of the meatless that seems determined to shame the planetary masses, most of whom — you guessed it — eat meat.

Anyway, we can argue about who is more superior another time but, meantime, here’s my question:

Why do vegans who hit maximum ire at the mere mention of a rare rib-eye want to eat things that aren’t meat but look, smell and taste like meat?

Exhibit A: The Impossible Burger.

Great name, and premise — a plant-based “meat” patty that looks, cooks and smells like real hamburger and has the consistency and taste of real hamburger.


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The Impossible Burger debuted in the U.S. in 2016 and was a huge hit, showing up on restaurant menus throughout the U.S. and Asia — and, finally, last September in selected Canadian restaurants. Creative chefs have gone all Wolfgang Puck on the trend, even incorporating it on charcuterie menus.

And when you’re riding an old wave to new heights, as Impossible Burger now is, you have to be clever. Which is why the Impossible Foods company recently released a fake meat patty that — wait for it — bleeds.

Just. Like. Real. Hamburger.

It is with this development that my aging protein-fuelled brain has a bone to pick. (Sorry.) Because, dear vegans, if you hate meat — and feel the need to publicly excoriate those who farm meat, sell meat, cook meat and eat meat — why, oh why, do you want to eat something that is meant to replicate real meat?

That bleeds like real meat?

When I ask this question of vegans, who are otherwise rather lovely and mostly tolerant of an old carnivore set in her ways, there are usually two eye-rolling answers: One, sometimes it’s just easier to blend into a meat-eating world.

Two, they used to eat meat and, dare we say, miss it.

I don’t get it. Tofurky your heart out, but maybe pick a lane.

— Shelley Fralic writes the Life in the 60s column.